TONGA'S SALE OF PASSPORTS TO FOREIGNERS COMING TO AN END

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NUKU‘ALOFA, Tonga (October 2, 1998 - PACNEWS/Amy)---The Tonga government has directed the Police and Immigration Ministry to officially end the sale of Tongan passports to foreigners by the end if this year.

Under the existing project, foreigners who apply for and are approved for citizenship receive Tongan passports following payment of approximately 10,000 to 20,000 pa‘anga (US$ 5,867 to US$ 11,735).

The latest group to gain Tongan citizenship under the plan is General Motors Company Vice President Michael Edwards Nyland, his wife and five children, Radio Tonga reports. Nyland paid a discounted US$ 33,000 to the Tongan government for the Tongan passports.

Police and Immigration Minister Clive Edwards said the government now is reviewing an accounting of the funds collected from recent passport sales.

Allegations have been made by politicians and others that some representatives of the Tongan government have gained personally from sale of the documents.

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